Seven tips for Yr 12 English students

The Year 12 English exam is less than two weeks away. Many students all over Australia but particularly in Victoria and New South Wales have spent a decent chunk of their year studying from their bedrooms instead of the classroom. Here are my top seven tips for VCE English students, based on my knowledge of the Victorian curriculum and my experience tutoring VCE students. And my experience with my Yr 12 son!

  • Remember – your score for English will be included in your top four subjects. Make English a priority for study!
  • Flick through your texts. You should be familiar with them by now, but perhaps less familiar with the ones you studied earlier in the year. Flick through them, slowing down to note the underlined words or your notes in the margin.
  • If you haven’t already written out quotes from your texts, write them out now. Memorise them – record yourself reading them into your phone. Ask a family member to do this for you, if you’ll learn better from someone else’s voice. Listen to them on a walk, while shooting hoops, while playing with your dog. Write them on small cards and stick them to the back of the bathroom door. Use different colours to highlight different themes, different characters. In your exam, an attempt to remember a quote is better than no attempt at all – put quotation marks around the words you’re sure of.
  • Look at as many essay questions as you can. If you can’t write essays for all of them, write five minute plans. If you’re stuck on a few questions, spend more time on these ones.
  • Language analysis – in your exam, do this one first, as you can use your valuable reading time to read the articles. If you read the articles in reading time, write the other two essays, then go back to the language analysis, the articles won’t be as fresh in your mind.
  • Allow time for proofreading at the end of each essay. If you have gone off track, rewrite what you need to in short, simple sentences. If your sentences are too long and convoluted, break them into two sentences. Check you have an opening topic sentence and a concluding sentence for each paragraph that link to each other.
  • Watch your timing. Work out how much time you have for each essay, then divide that time into seven. For each essay, you need to allow time to plan, write an introduction, write three body paragraphs, write a conclusion, proofread. That’s seven distinct steps – time yourself in a practice essay so you can move through each step at a measured pace.

Good luck, wonderful year 12 students who have already been through so much! Back yourself! You have been writing text responses for a few years now from Year 8 or 9 – you know how to do this. Slow your breathing, focus your thoughts, hear your teacher’s voice in your head reminding you of what you already know. You’ve got this!

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Good luck to all Year 12s. They have been brave and resilient 💕

October 15, 2021 at 9:42 am


Karen, thank you for sharing these wonderful tips. I’ve aready passed them on to Mr 16 and he’s pouring over them (loves your tips). Invaluable, thank you!Good luck to Mr T, from all of us xx

October 15, 2021 at 8:54 pm

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